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Child abuse is reported every ten seconds in the United States. In 2001 in Iowa the DHS reported 25,696 cases, finding only that 8,920 cases were ruled abuse, which means that 16.8 Iowa children per 1,000 suffered from abuse. Of those 8,920 cases, only 29 were determined to be emotional abuse. This has dropped since 1998, when emotional abuse accounted for 6% of all victims suffering child abuse. Child abuse has been on the rise for the past ten years. I am here to tell you about the least understood form of abuse, yet it is the most prevalent and can be the most destructive of all types.
It accompanies other forms of abuse but also may occur on its own. Emotional abuse is described as, any attitude or behavior, which interferes with a childs mental health or social development. Rejecting or refusing to acknowledge a persons presence, value or worth is the most common type of emotional abuse. Isolation, which is physical confinement is a way to make the child think he/she is not wanted. Terrorizing a child and inducing terror or fear upon them is also one of the main types of emotional abuse. Yelling, screaming, name-calling, shaming, and telling them they are bad, worthless, or lazy are just a few examples of how easy it is to emotionally abuse a child.
Corrupting your child into accepting ideas or behaviors that are not appropriate is also emotionally toying with the childs mind. Insulting, ridiculing, imitating and infantilizing are all ways of degrading a child. All of these types of emotional abuse are seemingly based on power and control. There are numerous reasons why children get abused, and not just by parents, but siblings too. Nearly one-third of women in prison reported abuse as children, with males being 14% of inmates reporting abuse in childhood. This brings me to my first cause. A persons background. If the abuser, has had deprivation he/she is more likely to continue it.
Parents who were abused dont know any better because thats how they were raised. Therefore, they punish their kids the way that their parents punished them. When a child sees or hears a family member being abused they also are victims of emotional abuse. So the cycle repeats itself over and over. Like in any situation, drugs and alcohol play a big part in the causes of abuse. Also if the parent is sick (mentally) or has disorders, is another issue of cause.
Nearly one-half of substantiated cases of child neglect and abuse are associated with parental alcohol or drug abuse. It is also estimated that one in every four children in the United States is living in a household with an alcoholic adult. In conclusion to alcohol and drugs abuse, brings up the situation on why that happens. Stress, brought on by a variety of social conditions raises the risk of the children being abused. Poor parenting skills and inappropriate expectations of child are reasons why parents harm their children. There are more reasons, such as the child might be handicapped or have a disorder, they might have been an unwanted pregnancy, which by any means people should not harm their children.
Most abusers dont get involved in the community and suffer from social isolation. Marriage problems sometimes lead to the children, and are unfortunately taken out on them. Most parents love and dont want to harm their child but they tend to have less patience and less mature personalities. Some parents claim they dont know the difference between discipline and abuse which has raised many questions about what is right and wrong in raising children in todays age. The way a familys structure is set up is a questionable cause also. Believe it or not siblings cause abuse also. Everyday siblings fight, yell, scream, call each other names and this brings down ones self-esteem and knowledge of being wanted and loved.
People over look this issue the most and say kids will just be kids. But gaining power and control at a young age is very dangerous for generations to come. Emotional maltreatment can and does happen in all types of families, regardless of their background. Along with the causes come the effects. They range from short term to long term. First of all, victims experience guilt, and think it is their fault that they are being harmed.
The family members appear cold and rejecting. Parents might be effected and blame or put the children down. Emotional abuse can result in serious emotional and/or behavioral problems, including depression, lack of attachment or emotional bond to a guardian. It can also severely damage a persons sense of self-worth and perception. In some cases, children who deal with emotional abuse suffer at least as much, if not more, than if they had been physically harmed. Less severe forms of early emotional deprivation may produce babies who grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop or who might have low self-esteem. Like no other abuse, this one leaves hidden scars that manifest inside the child in numerous ways.
These effects include visual problems, learning deficits, increased illness, low self-esteem and aggressive tendencies. Fear and anxiety are a few long-term effects. Children who experience rejection are likely to exhibit hostility and aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior. Not only does abuse effect the mind but also there is a link between childhood abuse and long term health effects. But the worst effect of all is that emotional abuse follows a pattern and repeats itself over and over. As mentioned earlier, emotional abuse is difficult to detect and leaves hidden scars with sometimes no signs.
Here are the most obvious signs that a child is being emotionally abused: depression, withdrawal, staying away from social events or strangers, low self-esteem and severe anxiety or aggression. Watch for negative comments directed toward the child, If he/she suffers from sleep or speech disorders, is destructive to others, and has little or no friends. Child tends to rock, suck, or bite himself? Usually the child seems to have a hard time learning, but also tries to act falsely grown up. If there are any signs that may lead to suspicion of abuse, contact authorities or seek help for the child. If the parent is the abuser, he/she needs to learn to walk away when losing control, and never be afraid to apologize. Instead of abusing, address the behaviors or use time-outs when the child misbehaves.
Most of all dont call the child names, or ridicule behaviors that are though of as being lazy, or worthless. Parents who were emotionally abused tend to follow a pattern and their child gets abused and one day is an abuser. So somewhere it needs to stop. There is plenty of help and support out in todays world. But the first step is admitting there is a problem. Take the child to the pediatrician to see how he/she can help.
In Iowa the DHS (Department of Human Services) is responsible for responding to reports of possible abuse. Twenty-four-hour help-lines, shelters, social service agencies or police are there to help whenever needed. Parenting classes, community agencies or churches all help aid in therapy. Just always remember help is available and the abusers or victims are not alone, and that it is the child's fault. No one deserves being abused. A child needs to seek help immediately.
Otherwise he/she may become self-destructive or may think about attempting suicide. If abused children dont receive assistance now it could have a life long impact on them. If you suspect or know that a child is being abused, listen, believe, and support them. It may be hard to find or spot a child abuser because they are found among all socio-economic, religious and ethnic groups. They are usually closely related to the child and seem normal to others. They are seldom total strangers. The cost of child abusewhether defined in terms of tax dollars or human sufferingdocuments a clear need for society to give priority to abuse prevention efforts.
This abuse is no laughing matter-it is a problem. In 1998, an estimated 1,100 children died of abuse and neglect. Also each day in the United States, more than three children die as a result of child abuse in the home. Something needs to happen and people need to make an effort to stop this sickening world problem. A child is a blessing and joy to have, and by all means does not deserve to be put through any of this torture. The family should not have to put up with this either.
Most cases end up in split families, with kids put into foster homes. It causes stress on everyone in the household. There is plenty of help out there. So if there is any suspicion do not ignore it, but tend to it right away. The numbers need to drop drastically and our nation needs to love and take care of its precious children. Just think about it for a second-they are the future of our generation.
So stop the hate..
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